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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Miranda

Arginine is one of the 20 amino acids used to build proteins in our bodies. Its main function is to maintain proper protein synthesis and cellular and organ function, particularly muscle function.

Benefits of Arginine

Arginine is also implicated in regulating blood pressure, as it may be converted to nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator. This vasodilatory function may explain why consumption of arginine-rich foods has been linked to improvements in erectile dysfunction symptoms. Arginine may also play a role in the regulation of fat metabolism, perhaps through up-regulation of mitochondrial and brown adipose tissue activity, improving our bodies’ fat-burning capacities, which help maintain a healthy weight.

Increasing Arginine Intake

Dietary sources of arginine include soy, nuts, seeds and insects, the proteins of which contain high percentages of this amino acid. Watermelon (both pink and yellow) is a good source of citrulline, which the body can convert into arginine.

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